Furniture re-dos Makeovers Projects Ryobi

Unique drawer pulls

My youngest daughter is an interesting kid and quite a proficient artist. When she asked for a “new” (to her) desk for her room, I knew it wasn’t going to be a “run of the mill” furniture refresh. She threw me for a loop when she only wanted it painted white. Then, true to form, turned down every drawer handle option we could find. We wanted unique drawer pulls that would speak to her talents. I think we found them.

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My son had this desk in his old room.

desk in boys bedroom with lots of stuffed animals and items stored on it.

Since we did his room refresh the tiny bedroom he used to have has become a storage lot for everything the kids don’t want. (on a side note, anyone want to come “shopping”? I’m ready to light a match and burn this place to the ground some days). Gracie liked this desk because it was larger though she didn’t want the hutch since she said it felt too bulky.

We removed the hutch and drug the desk out to the front yard. Then I handed her my Ryobi cordless orbital sander and she went to town.

wood desk in yard with ryobi orbital sander on it

We removed the hardware from the drawers and filled in the holes from the knobs. The drawers interiors were then painted a cheery yellow (her current favorite color).

drawers removed from desk and in yard ready to be spray painted

Then we taped the edges and masked the yellow interiors with masking paper and spray painted the fronts white.

desk drawer side painted in bright yellow
desk drawer taped to be masked for additional painting
side of drawer taped and masked with paper ready for fronts to be painted.
masked drawer ready to be painted.

The desk got a coat of primer then 2 or 3 coats of paint. I like to paint perpendicular to the last coat when spray painting large surfaces because I feel like it gives better coverage.

wood desk outside with primer and partial white paint coat applied

Once everything was dry, we were ready for the handles. We had a few hurdles to overcome:
* We decided to use colored pencils to celebrate her art. They needed to be larger if we were going to screw into the back of them.
*The pencils would need to stick out from the drawer fronts so a hand can fit between them to open the drawer.

A web search finally found thicker colored pencils and BONUS! Being triangular shaped, these have flat-ish sides. Mechanical pencils were the easiest solution to the spacing problem. Cabinet screws were my choice for their larger head.

colored pencil, mechanical pencil, and cabinet screw on desk drawer front

Gracie disassembled the pencils.

dismantled mechanical pencil on white drawer front

I wrapped painting tape around the casing, then marked about how long they needed to be.

shell of mechanical pencil with painters tape marked for cutting

A small hacksaw was used to carefully cut along that mark. (on my dining room table of course… the grooves were the perfect size to hold the casing in place)

mechanical pencil shell being cut with hacksaw

Sandpaper (400 grit) made the cut edges smooth and ready for installation.

blue colored pencil with blue plastic spacers and a cabinet screw on a white background

We wanted an option for different pulls later if (when) she changes her mind. The pencils are 7″ long. Attaching them 2″ in from each side leaves a 3″ on-center pull and gives plenty of support. Painting tape leftovers on the front gave me a space to mark the location.

colored pencil with painter tape marking where to line it up

Making sure the holes were exactly where they need to be was easy with Rockler’s drawer pull jig. I drilled the holes, and then had the screws peek out front just a bit. Then lining the pencil up and pressing it into the screws gave me a guide for attachment.

back of pencil with marks from screw tips

Running the screws the rest of the way in, pulling the spacers over them and then holding the pencils in place during the last few turns, gave us a unique drawer pull to suit the personality of Miss Fancy Pants.

new colored pencil unique drawer pull attached to drawer front

Once we reattached the slides, we put the desk back together and moved it into place.

close up of drawer portion of desk showing colored pencil unique drawer pulls
full view of desk showing colored pencil unique drawer pulls

She did need a bit more storage so I grabbed some shelf brackets and leftover pvc trim I had on hand.

full view of desk and shelving showing colored pencil unique drawer pulls

I hope this project inspires you to try to make your own unique drawer pulls. Have any ideas about what you could use? I’d love to hear!

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pinnable image leading back to post about creating unique drawer pulls

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    July 1, 2020 at 2:31 PM

    I love it!

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